The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Bristol Sheltered Accommodation & Support Limited (registered charity number 1136521). The inquiry was opened on 1 April 2015.
The charity has objects to relieve poverty and hardship among homeless refugees in Bristol by the provision of accommodation, food, clothing and support. In practice it provides hostel accommodation and support, including meals, to homeless people.
The inquiry opened after concerns were raised with the commission and separately after Bristol City Council contacted us. The regulator also carried out its own preliminary analysis. The regulator is investigating potential regulatory concerns identified including, poor financial controls at the charity, the management of conflicts of interest and related party transactions leading to potential significant private benefit.
The inquiry will examine the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees, including whether:
- appropriate financial controls are in place and are being properly managed by the trustees
- conflicts of interest were/are being identified and properly managed
- there has been unauthorised private benefits arising from related party transactions
- they have complied with the commission’s specific regulatory advice and guidance regarding payments to trustees/connected persons or with the provisions of the charity’s governing document
- there has been misconduct or mismanagement on the part of the trustees or those acting in the administration and management of the charity
Publication of this statement was delayed in line with Cabinet Office guidance and the commission’s subsequent decision not to announce new inquiries during Purdah, the pre-election period.
The regulator stresses that opening an inquiry is not in itself a finding of wrongdoing. The purpose of an inquiry is to examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the facts so that the regulator can ascertain whether or not there has been misconduct and mismanagement; establish the extent of the risk to the charity’s property, beneficiaries or work; decide what action needs to be taken to resolve the serious concerns, if necessary using its investigative, protective and remedial powers to do so.
It is the commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries by the commission are available on its website.
The charity’s details can be viewed on the commission’s online charity search tool.
Notes to Editors
The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
- Our mission is to be the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that:
- Charities know what they have to do
- The public know what charities do
- Charities are held to account
Section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 gives the commission the power to institute inquiries. The opening of an inquiry gives the commission access to a range of protective and remedial powers.
- The commission’s decision to announce the opening of a statutory inquiry is based on whether it is in the public interest to do so and with consideration of our objective to increase public trust and confidence in charities.